Former Winnebago County Law Enforcement Center

The former Winnebago County Law Enforcement Center building.

FOREST CITY | The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors has been discussing various ways to dispose of the building formerly used as the county's law enforcement center.

The supervisors rejected the one and only bid received during the Nov. 20 auction of its former law enforcement center building and land.

The supervisors deemed the $2,000 bid too low.

Supervisor Terry Durby said he's heard someone else has expressed interest in the building.

Durby said the county could have people submit proposals to buy the property. In their proposals they would be required to outline what they want to do with the it. 

Durby said the winning proposal would be chosen on merit, so the highest bidder might not end up getting the building.

"It's in our best interests to get rid of it as soon as possible," Durby said.  

The former LEC was originally built as a hospital in 1934 and converted into a jail in 1976.

The new Winnebago County Public Safety Center was completed earlier this year. 

County Auditor Karla Weiss said the county secondary roads department is willing to demolish the old LEC building. Williams said this would be cheaper than hiring a contractor to do it. 

Once the building is demolished, the land -- which is located across the street from the courthouse -- "would make a lovely parking lot," Weiss said. 

Supervisor Bill Jensvold said more parking is needed downtown, not only for the courthouse but for nearby churches. 

During their Dec. 5 meeting, the supervisors discussed winterizing the former LEC in case someone does want to use it.

Kevin Williams, building maintenance supervisor for the county, said he plans to put antifreeze in the toilets and drain traps.

However, he has already drained the steam boiler and removed the pipes, "so that ship has sailed," he said.

Williams said he wants to get the boiler decommissioned so it can be taken off the county's insurance. 

"Maybe the next person wants it, but we won't fire it," he said.

The rooftop radiator over what used to by the jailers' office will not heat the building, according to Williams. 

"I will winterize what I can, but if something pops a pipe or radiator, it just does," he said. 

He noted the supervisors have agreed that anyone who buys the building must accept it as is. 

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